Decorated airman who was ‘much loved’ in Axminster dies aged 100

PUBLISHED: 11:30 19 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:08 19 February 2018

Squadron Leader Stapleton 1940

Squadron Leader Stapleton 1940

A well-known airman has died shortly after his 100th birthday.

Pilot Officer Stapleton with his plane: 1936. Pilot Officer Stapleton with his plane: 1936.

Air Vice Marshal Deryck Cameron Stapleton, CB, CBE, DFC, AFC, died last Friday (February 16) and was much-loved in the Axminster area, say his family.

Born in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Deryck was educated at King Edward VI School in Totnes before joining the Royal Air Force in 1936.

In World War Two he served in East Africa, the Middle East, North Africa and Italy and, heading 14 Squadron, he led two formations in a combined attack against a target in Eritrea.

Revered for his courageous leadership, skill and daring, Deryck was decorated twice for bravery.

During peacetime he went on to command many Royal Air Force stations, eventually progressing to commandant of the Royal Air Force Staff College in Bracknell in June 1966. He retired from the Force in 1968.

Deryck, who died in Coaxdon, leaves his three sons, John, Bruce and Oliver Stapleton, his daughters-in-law and four grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements will shortly be announced.

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